Less than 24-hours separate us from kickoff at the iconic Wembley Stadium, where Arsenal will take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final. For the Gunners, this could be a consolation after a poor campaign. Being able to close the book on the 2016/17 campaign with a title would help relieve the pain of not finishing in the top four. I still haven’t accepted the fact that Arsenal will be playing in the Europa League next season.
All the blood, sweat, tears and frustrations throughout the campaign come down to this.
If you’re wondering what trend I’m referring to, well, not everyone may be aware of it.
Going back in history, Arsenal has taken part in 19 FA Cup finals, with their first coming against Cardiff City in the 1926/27 campaign. Since that defeat, the Gunners have won the prestigious title 12 times, while losing six.
Coincidentally, whenever Arsenal has been the home side in the FA Cup final, they’ve yet to lose. On the flip side, whenever they’ve been the away side, they’ve yet to win. On Saturday, Arsene Wenger’s men are the hosts. You know what that means right?
Having finished out of the top four and subsequently out of the Champions League, I’m inclined to think this is another trend that could be broken. But, Arsenal’s struggles at St. Marys and away to Stoke were also negative trends as of late, and those were broken recently, so… why not a 13th victory?!
Arsenal 2-0 Huddersfield Town (1929/30)
Arsenal 1-0 Sheffield United (1935/26)
Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool (1949/50)
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool (1970/71)
Arsenal 3-2 Manchester Utd (1978/79)
Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield Utd / Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield Utd (1992/93)
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle Utd (1997/98)
Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea (2001/02)
Arsenal 1-0 Southampton (2002/03)
Arsenal 0-0 (5-4 pk) Manchester Utd (2004/05)
Arsenal 3-2 Hull City (2013/14)
Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa (2014/15)
Total Goals Scored: 25
Total Goals Against: 7
If that trend doesn’t give you hope, maybe this next one will.
Chelsea have won seven FA Cups, while making it to the final 11 times. That means, they’ve lost in the final four times, and would you know that all four times they were listed as the away team. Not impressed? Ok, well, from their seven victories, they were listed as the home side all seven times.
Want more statistical hope?
The blues have scored just one goal from those four defeats, having been shut out three times. That lone goal came in the 1966/67 campaign against Spu*s. While they haven’t scored much as the away side, they’ve conceded 11 in those four defeats. Not impressed? Well, then I don’t know what else to tell you!
Actually, I have one more for you. Chelsea’s last defeat in the FA Cup final was against… Arsenal. A 2-0 victory for the Gunners in the 2001/02 campaign with goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg. Seriously though, I’m done now.
History is on our side! Come on Arsenal, keep the damn streak going.
It’s Going To Get Personal
We all have footy friends who share different interests, and of course, everyone is entitled to their own views. Unfortunately for me, five of the lads support that godforsaken club in West London. I guess it could be worst, right?
But let me tell you about these guys. I love them to death, but jesus do they make me want to pull my damn hair out. Whenever Chelsea is playing, our group chat is inundated with Anttooonnniiiooooo, and Dieeeggoooooo. At times, if buying a new iPhone wasn’t so expensive, I would love to place it gently on the pavement, and drive back and fourth over it at least 100 times.
Last year, they were fairly quiet for obvious reasons. So since they couldn’t talk about their club, they mostly gave me sh*t for the fact that Arsenal wasn’t able to win the title, although all the other big clubs took the year off.
This year, it’s been an absolute nightmare. Thank you Apple for having the DND feature for group messages.
As you could imagine, they are getting together for the match, and of course, they invited me. Obviously, I promptly declined.
Having to be part of a group chat when these two clubs go head to head gives me enough anxiety, I can’t imagine being in the same room as them, especially since they are the favorites going into the match.
With that said, during the semi-finals when Arsenal defeated City, these guys were begging for Arsenal to win. We want Arsenal was the statement of the day. Boy do I hope they eat their words!
If for whatever reason Arsenal doesn’t win… Well, the scenario I spoke about earlier involving pavement, iPhone and my car… That might just happen. DND may not be enough to save my phone.
We all know the announcement of Arsene Wenger’s contract extension is imminent. As I mentioned before, if they win, the announcement will come sooner rather than later. A defeat would likely push out the announcement a week or two.
Contract talks aside, Arsene Wenger is tied with George Ramsay, both having won six FA Cup. A victory on Saturday would put Le Prof at the top of the list with seven. The next closest active manager to matching that would be… ugh… give me a second… actually, I give up. Lets just say that there isn’t another active manager in the top 20 list, and number 20 is Kenny Dalglish, with two FA Cup wins.
With the unlikely scenario of Arsene Wenger walking away from the club after the final whistle, only he knows if that’s a possibility. Maybe he also told the players about his decision, but either way, that will be just another motivating factor for the Frenchman, who has endured quite a stressful year.
You want another record to be broken?
A victory for Arsenal would make them the most successful club in the FA Cup, with 13 titles. At the moment, they are even with Manchester United having each won 12.
So there you have it folks. There are streaks to be kept intact, and records to be broken. Arsenal could keep their streak, break the club record, and Wenger could reach a personal milestone. Sounds like a perfect end to the season right?! May the footy gods be with us!